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Is Carl Froch really declining, or has he always struggled with speedy boxers?

Credit: Matchroom Boxing

Questions abound in some boxing circles as to whether Carl Froch’s controversial TKO win over George Groves signals that time and too many wars have finally started to catch-up with boxing’s ironman.

To recap briefly, Froch was floored early and given fits throughout his nine-round battle with fellow Briton, Groves, and this in a fight he was favored to win. Coming back, Froch hurt Groves, leading the referee to stop the fight, a call many have labeled as premature and unwarranted.

Froch’s failure to win convincingly have led some, as inevitably happens, to question Froch’s overall ability. The Cobra did look a bit slow and stiff against St. George, but one has to wonder how much of that is an absolute decline in Froch’s ability, and how much is relative against a quick and slick guy like Groves.

Let us not forget that Carl Froch has never been a fast fighter. His main attributes have been brick-like fists, stony durability, and iron will. That Froch hit the canvas in the 1st Round against Groves was due in large part to his unfamiliarity with Groves’ speed, and getting clipped with a shot he couldn’t see. It happens, and interestingly no one is claiming Froch has lost his chin despite the knockdown.

In fact, many people who predicted Froch to win the fight noted that Groves would win the early rounds, but that Froch would come on later, and potentially earn a stoppage victory. Indeed, that’s exactly what happened. But many of those same people then jumped on the Froch is declining bandwagon after the fight.

Froch vs. Groves reminded me greatly of two of the Cobra’s bouts from 2009, namely the Anthony Dirrell and Jermain Taylor bouts. Both men were quick, athletic, and could hit with power. Both gave Froch problems, and Taylor also put Froch down early. Rewinding to 2009, Froch didn’t enjoy nearly the status he does today, with the win over Taylor coming as a Hail Mary, 12th Round knockout he desperately needed to avoid losing on points, and the Dirrell win being a narrow one coming off an ugly, rough fight. The Dirrell win was also controversial, with many calling it a hometown decision.

Put into perspective, Froch probably isn’t slowing down just yet. It seems much more likely that Froch has serious problems with athletic fighters who bring both speed and power to the table than that he is in decline, as the similarities between the Groves, Dirrell, and Taylor matches show.